Digital rights


Digital rights

The term digital rights describes the permissions of individuals legitimately to perform actions involving the use of a computer, any electronic device, or a communications network. The term is particularly related to the protection and realization of existing rights, such as the right to privacy or freedom of expression (see freedom of information), in the context of new digital technologies, especially the Internet.[1]

Contents

Human rights and the Internet

A number of human rights have been identified as relevant with regards to the Internet. These include: freedom of expression, data protection and privacy and freedom of association. Furthermore the right to education and multilingualism, consumer rights, and capacity building in the context of the right to development have also been identified.[2] Human rights have been termed the "missing link" between the technology oriented and the value oriented approaches to the Internet.[3]

On Thursday, November 17, 2011, a Catholic News Service (CNS) online news story reported by Cindy Wooden stated that:

"The Internet is a global public good that should be accessible to all and respectful of the rights of others, said an influential Jesuit (Society of Jesus) magazine.

With repressive regimes restricting access to information and communications, democratic governments should work to guarantee access to the Internet and adopt general principles to ensure network use respects universal human rights said an editorial in La Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit journal reviewed by the Vatican before publication.

"What the law permits or prohibits offline must also be the case online," said the editorial released Nov. 17.

The "only widespread international consensus" on online material to be censored regards child pornography and cyberterrorism, the article said.

The Jesuit journal said that with individuals abusing the freedom of expression, with companies potentially exploiting computer users for financial gain and repressive regimes blocking information from their citizens, the world needs a "Charter of Human Rights for the Internet."..."[4]

APC Internet Rights Charter

The APC Internet Rights Charter was established by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) at the APC Europe Internet Rights Workshop, held in Prague, February 2001. The Charter draws on the People's Communications Charter and develops seven themes: internet access for all; freedom of expression and association; access to knowledge, shared learning and creation - free and open source software and technology development; privacy, surveillance and encryption; governance of the internet; awareness, protection and realization of rights.[5][6] The APC states that "the ability to share information and communicate freely using the internet is vital to the realisation of human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women."[7]

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

In December 2003 the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was convened under the auspice of the United Nations (UN). After lengthy negotiations between governments, businesses and civil society representatives the WSIS Declaration of Principles was adopted[8] reaffirming human rights:

"We reaffirm the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, as enshrined in the Vienna Declaration. We also reaffirm that democracy, sustainable development, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as good governance at all levels are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. We further resolve to strengthen the rule of law in international as in national affairs[8]

The WSIS Declaration also makes specific reference to the importance of the right to freedom of expression in the "Information Society" in stating:

"We reaffirm, as an essential foundation of the Information Society, and as outlined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Communication is a fundamental social process, a basic human need and the foundation of all social organisation. It is central to the Information Society. Everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity to participate and no one should be excluded from the benefits of the Information Society offers."[8]

The 2004 WSIS Declaration of Principles also acknowledged that "it is necessary to prevent the use of information resources and technologies for criminal and terrorist purposes, while respecting human rights."[9] Wolfgang Benedek comments that the WSIS Declaration only contains a number of references to human rights and does not spell out any procedures or mechanism to assure that human rights are considered in practice.[2]

Digital rights landscape

Internet Bill of Rights

The Dynamic Coalition for an Internet Bill of Rights emerged in preparation for the 2008 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Rio as part of which the Coalition held a large preparatory Dialogue Forum on Internet Rights in Rome, September 2007. The Dialogue Forum established that the aim was not to develop a new legal bill of rights, but to work on a set of guidelines interpreting existing human rights with regard to the needs and challenges of the information society. The Coalition intends to undertake an inventory of existing international human rights instruments and to serve as an engagement platform to elaborate the content of the Internet Bill of Rights.[10]

Global Network Initiative

On October 29, 2008 the Global Network Initiative (GNI) was founded upon its "Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy". The Initiative was launched in the 60th Anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and is based on internationally recognized laws and standards for human rights on freedom of expression and privacy set out in the UDHR, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).[11] Participants in the Initiative include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, other major companies, human rights NGOs, investors, and academics.[12][13]

According to reports Cisco Systems was invited to the initial discussions but didn't take part in the initiative. Harrington Investments, which proposed that Cisco establish a human rights board, has dismissed the GNI as a voluntary code of conduct having any impact. Chief executive John Harrington called the GNI "meaningless noise" and instead calls for bylaws to be introduced that force boards of directors to accept human rights responsibilities.[14]

Digital rights landscape

In 2005, the United Kingdom's Open Rights Group published a digital rights landscape, documenting the range of organizations and people active in the cause of preserving digital rights. The diagram related groups, individuals, and websites to interest areas.[15]

Digital rights advocacy groups

See also

References

  1. ^ "Digital freedom: the case for civil liberties on the Net". BBC News. 1999-03-04. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/special_report/1998/encryption/58154.stm. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  2. ^ a b Benedek, Wolfgang; Veronika Bauer, Matthias Kettemann (2008). Internet Governance and the Information Society. Eleven International Publishing. p. 36. ISBN 9077596569, 9789077596562. http://books.google.com/books?id=ie7Yqiw85TcC&vq=%22Internet+Bill+of+rights%22&dq=%22digital+rights%22+%22human+rights%22&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0. 
  3. ^ Benedek, Wolfgang; Veronika Bauer, Matthias Kettemann (2008). Internet Governance and the Information Society. Eleven International Publishing. p. 40. ISBN 9077596569, 9789077596562. http://books.google.com/books?id=ie7Yqiw85TcC&vq=%22Internet+Bill+of+rights%22&dq=%22digital+rights%22+%22human+rights%22&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0. 
  4. ^ http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1104530.htm
  5. ^ "Towards a charter for Internet rights". Internet Rights UK. http://www.internetrights.org.uk/index.shtml?AA_SL_Session=8fa795873994ed10dd54938b98227a99&x=609. Retrieved 2 December 2008. 
  6. ^ Benedek, Wolfgang; Veronika Bauer, Matthias Kettemann (2008). Internet Governance and the Information Society. Eleven International Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 9077596569, 9789077596562. http://books.google.com/books?id=ie7Yqiw85TcC&vq=%22Internet+Bill+of+rights%22&dq=%22digital+rights%22+%22human+rights%22&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0. 
  7. ^ "ICT Policy and Internet Rights". Association for Progressive Communications. http://rights.apc.org/charter.shtml. Retrieved 2 December 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c Klang, Mathias; Murray, Andrew. Human Rights in the Digital Age. Routledge. p. 1. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=USksfqPjwhUC&dq=%22digital+rights%22+human+rights&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0. 
  9. ^ Klang, Mathias; Murray, Andrew. Human Rights in the Digital Age. Routledge. p. 2. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=USksfqPjwhUC&dq=%22digital+rights%22+human+rights&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0. 
  10. ^ Benedek, Wolfgang; Veronika Bauer, Matthias Kettemann (2008). Internet Governance and the Information Society. Eleven International Publishing. p. 38. ISBN 9077596569, 9789077596562. http://books.google.com/books?id=ie7Yqiw85TcC&vq=%22Internet+Bill+of+rights%22&dq=%22digital+rights%22+%22human+rights%22&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0. 
  11. ^ Global Network Initiative, FAQ
  12. ^ Internet Rights Protection Initiative Launches
  13. ^ Global Network Initiative, Participants
  14. ^ Glanville, Jo (17 November 2008). "The big business of net censorship". London: The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/17/censorship-internet. 
  15. ^ mind-map diagram

External links


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